Cooking Bon Appetit

Oh.  My.  God.

I just had the best dinner and the best pasta.  About 2 issues ago, Bon Appetit’s feature was pasta and I just got around to cooking a recipe I’ve had my eyes on: pappardelle with creamy bacon and leek sauce.  It was amazing.  There was a sort of Alfredo quality, the leeks had a charred sweetness and the bacon was a nice crispy, salty bite.  And the pasta.  Pappardelle is my favorite–those wide egg noodles remind me of pot roast gravy on Sunday nights and they hug and hide away all the bits of bacon, cheese and leek in this dish.  It can be hard to find in stores though–when I saw it recently I was that weird person who exclaimed “Oh my god they have pappardelle! Yes!”

I was alone in the aisle.  Talking to myself. But this was a big pasta moment for me.

Maybe I should have bought more than just this one.

Maybe I should have bought more than just this one.

And Leeks.  Let’s talk leeks for a moment. If you pass these up in the grocery store you are missing out.  They taste like the mildest, sweetest onion had an affair with the mildest, sweetest garlic and made the most delicious baby. They may seem foreign but they are actually really easy to prep if you know what to do.  There are 2 things to know about leeks:

  1. You will feel wasteful. 
  2. They are sandy, so deal with that.

With leeks, you only eat the white and light green parts, which is only about 1/3 of the vegetable. Deal with the waste and move on.  I always cut them with a slight angle up, so they are a bit pointed.  Next, you have to deal with the sand. Leeks are grown in sandy soil and are a relative of the onion = layers. And anyone who has been to the beach knows layers+sand=bad time.  So cut the leek down the middle and run it under cold water while fanning out the layers, like you’re fanning the pages of a book.  Now you’re ready.  You can either braise the leeks like this (I love to braise them in a tomato white wine sauce with a hint of nutmeg) or cut them crosswise, as in this recipe.

This is about where you cut them

This is about where you cut them

They almost look naked without their roots and tall leaves

They almost look naked without their roots and tall leaves

A look at the layers.  Just run this under water and fan your thumb through them.

A look at the layers. Just run this under water and fan your thumb through them.

I followed this recipe pretty exactly, well except I cut it in half and threw in a little of the wine I was drinking because how bad could that be? Also, I added more leeks.  I love them.  Give this a try!  It’s a pretty easy and quick weeknight meal

Creamy Leek Pappardelle (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Makes 2-3 servings (depending on how much of a glutton you are 🙂 )


  • 2 small to medium leeks, prepared as above and sliced crosswise in 1/2 inch pieces 
  • 2 pieces of thick bacon cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 package pappardelle (as shown in picture)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt


  1. Get the pasta water going and don’t forget to salt it. 
  2. heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan with high sides.  Then add bacon and cook on a medium to medium high heat until browned and fat is rendered.  This takes about 5-6 minutes (Don’t worry, the dish won’t be greasy if you take your time with the next step)
  3. Add the leeks and season with salt.  Stir them around, let them absorb the bacon grease and do their leek thing.  You want these to get slightly browned.  This also takes about 6 minutes
  4. Add the thyme, cream and water (and a splash of wine if you feel like it) and let it come to a boil.  Then turn the heat down and let it simmer and thicken until it coats the back of your spoon.
  5. Meanwhile, the pasta should be done.  Reserve 1 cup of the water and then drain.
  6. Add the pasta, half of the reserved pasta water, and cheese to the saute pan. Gently stir/toss the pasta and add more water as you see fit.  You want all noodles coated in the sauce.  This takes about 4 minutes of patient tossing.
  7. Serve on plates with a little more cheese and try not to eat it too fast.



Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Pasta, Recipes


A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.


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2 Comments on “Cooking Bon Appetit”

  1. Deborah
    March 21, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Sounds wonderful! I’ll have to try leeks 🙂

  2. lindsy
    April 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    those leeks you made for me before where so good, this sounds very yummy

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